Students at the University of Zambia (UNZA) Copperbelt Province campus have complained over the decision by the provincial school management not to allow owing students to sit for exams which are expected to commence on Monday, November 11.

In an interview, the students questioned the decision by management to block them from writing examinations when there was a directive my Higher Education Minister Brian Mushimba that owing students should be allowed to write, and that universities could only hold the results until the balances are cleared.

“Some of us have not finished paying the balances. There is a memo today that has been released that those who are owing the institution over K2, 000 are not going to be allowed to sit for examinations. But again mid this year, the Minister of Higher Education Dr Brian Mushimba took to his twitter account and ordered that no student should be barred from writing exams regardless of balances and that he would only support the withholding of results. But now, the university has published a memo only a few days before the exams. It was going to be better if they had done this may be a month or two months before. So us who have balances are now confused. We don’t know what to do,” they complained.

And according to a memo issued and signed by UNZA Copperbelt Province campus resident lecturer, PC Sampa, dated November 11, 2019 and addressed to all students, only students owing K2, 000 or less will be allowed to sit for exams on Monday.

“RE: Outstanding tuition fees balances vs admission to November 2019 final examinations. Following the appeal letter written by students to the Dean- School of Education requesting to be allowed to sit for examinations despite not having paid Tuition Fees in full, the Head of Department has directed that only students with an outstanding balance of Two Thousand Kwacha (K2, 000.00) will be allowed. I, therefore, wish to encourage all students with more than Two Thousand Kwacha (K2, 000.00) balances to pay, as the office of the Resident Lecturer will not allow any student with more than Two Thousand Kwacha (K2,000.00) balance to write the examinations Please note that, all students who will be allowed to write the examinations with balances will have their results withheld. Please take this as official notification,” Sampa stated.

And when contacted for a comment, UNZA Public Relations Officer Habeenzu Mulunda said no student will be barred from writing exams but assured the affected students that he will engage the school registrar to find the way forward.

“Everyone has been cleared to write, whether they have paid or not paid, they should go ahead and write. That was the directive that was given. I am not aware of that [Copperbelt issue]. I need to follow it up [because] I am not too sure of what the extension studies have agreed. I will liaise with the registrar and the education extension [because] I am not sure whether the directive was just for those who are here at the main campus or including those at extension centres,” said Mulunda.